The San Diego Padres had a heartbreaker during their game against Texas at Petco Park on Aug. 31. Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego), one of the team’s best players this season and a player who has been on fire at the plate lately, grabbed his right shoulder during the home rush.
It went like this. Kim, who also started in the leadoff spot, drew a walk in the first inning and followed it up with an infield single in the third. After stealing second, he raced to third on Xander Bogaerts’ sacrifice fly. It was a close call, but Kim’s hand seemed to sweep home plate first. Kim’s quick feet allowed him to score the winning run.
However, Texas catcher Sam Huff’s feet and knees were blocking home plate, and as Kim tried to get his hand through, he was blocked by Huff’s feet. The collision caused a momentary jolt to his right shoulder. Despite this, Kim showed his determination and determination by trying to get his hand in the groove again. The sight of him crawling up and touching home again with his injured shoulder impressed the local fans and everyone else.
San Diego, however, was heartbroken. Kim complained of pain in his right shoulder, and as a protective measure, the team immediately subbed him off and sent him for X-rays. San Diego is trying to keep their postseason hopes alive. The loss of Kim, who has been at the top of his game both offensively and defensively, could have been disastrous.
Luckily, an X-ray revealed no significant bone damage. “We’ll see, but if I feel better tomorrow, I’ll play right away,” Kim told local media after the game. We’ll know more about his condition once he wakes up, but it’s good news for him and the team that he avoided a major injury.
Kim can’t afford to get hurt anymore. San Diego may be a superstar-studded team, but there’s no one who can replace what Kim is doing right now. He’s recognized as one of the best defenders in the league, but he’s also been on fire offensively this year. Through 31 days and 101 games, he’s batting .279 with 14 home runs, 21 doubles, and an OPS of .821.
His hitting form has been particularly strong since mid-June, and San Diego manager Bob Melvin has been using him as a leadoff man to great effect. In 23 games in July, Kim had a breakout month, batting .341 with five home runs, eight doubles, and a 1.004 OPS. Only three players in the entire league have a better July Wins Above Replacement (WAR) than Kim. That’s thanks to his defense and offense.
His teammates recognize it. Fernando Tatis Jr, the present and future of San Diego, who signed a massive 14-year, $340 million contract, also breathed a sigh of relief that Kim’s injury wasn’t too serious. Tatis Jr, who was once the starting shortstop ahead of Kim but has since moved to the outfield, praised Kim, calling him one of the best players in the league.
Tatis Jr. told the San Diego Union-Tribune after the game, “Kim has been the most consistent player on the team this year, and by far the best player on the team. He’s been the most consistent player for us this year, and by far our best player.” That’s a lot of praise for an indispensable core player.
Tatis Jr. has followed Kim’s adjustment to the major leagues and says, “Kim was given more opportunities to prove himself last year. Before that, he was a substitute off the bench, but it’s harder. He just needed time to adjust. He needed time to see what major league baseball is like,” he said, giving a thumbs-up to Kim, who is now one of the best players in the league. 꽁머니지급
San Diego is 52-54 (.491) through 31 games and has yet to get back to .500. It’s certainly a disappointment after all the investment and expectations before the season, but Kim has been steadily increasing his value and is now an integral part of the lineup.
Although they are eight games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, they are still in a position to make a run at the third wild-card spot, with five games in hand on Milwaukee. That’s why he’ll need to stay healthy and finish the season, and why he’ll need to carry the load until the other players get back on track. Tatis Junior’s praise reflects his teammates’ belief in him.